December 8, 2011 4:40 am
Updated: March 18, 2013 9:42 am

Many children’s breakfast cereals contain more sugar than dessert: US study

Sure the kids love them, but parents be warned – many popular breakfast cereals contain more sugar than a Twinkie or chocolate chip cookie, according to a new study.


TORONTO – Dessert for breakfast? Thanks mom!

Sure the kids love them, but parents be warned – many popular breakfast cereals contain more sugar than a Twinkie or chocolate chip cookie, according to a new study.

The U.S.-based Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research and public health advocacy group, has reviewed 84 popular cereal brands, measuring sugar content.

Leading the list of high-sugar offenders is Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, weighing in at nearly 56 per cent sugar.

According to the study, one cup of Honey Smacks contains 20 grams of sugar.  A Hostess Twinkie snack cake contains 18 grams
per serving. One serving of 44 different children’s cereal brands contains more sugar than three Chips Ahoy cookies.

ENG’s analysis states that most children’s cereals fail to meet the U.S. government’s guidelines for foods nutritious enough to be marketed to kids.

The worst offenders

Based on per cent sugar by weight, the ENG study lists the 10 worst offenders:

  • Kellogg’s Honey
    Smacks (55.6%)
  • Post Golden Crisp
  • Kellogg’s Froot
    Loops Marshmallow (48.3%)
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n
    Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries (46.9%)
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n
    Crunch Original (44.4%)
  • Quaker Oats Oh!s
  • Kellogg’s Smorz
  • Kellogg’s Apple Jacks
  • Ouaker Oats Cap’n
    Crunch’s Crunch Berries (42.3%)
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original (41.4%)

The best children’s cereals

The ENG study also lists the best choices for children’s cereal, based on passing federal guidelines for sugar, sodium, fat and whole grain content. They are free of artificial colours, flavours and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose. The top choices are also free of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients.

  1. Ambrosial Granola: Athenian Harvest Muesli
  2. Go Raw: Live Granola, Live Chocolate Granola,
    and Simple Granola
  3. Grandy Oats: Mainely Maple Granola, Cashew
    Raisin Granola, and Swiss Style Muesli
  4. Kaia Foods: Buckwheat Granola Dates & Spices
    and Buckwheat Granola Raisin Cinnamon
  5. Laughing Giraffe: Cranberry Orange Granola
  6. Lydia’s Organics: Apricot Sun, Berry Good,
    Grainless Apple, Sprouted Cinnamon, and Vanilla Crunch
  7. Nature’s Path Organic: Optimum Banana Almond,
    Optimum Cranberry Ginger, Corn Puffs, Kamut Puffs, Millet Puffs, and Rice Puffs

Good big brand cereal choices

So you’re sceptical of the success you’ll have getting your children to skip the Fruit Loops and have buckwheat, kamut or millet? The ENG study also lists the top big brand cereals, which meet nutrition guidelines but may contain genetically modified ingredients and/or pesticides.

  • Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats: Unfrosted Bite-Size,
    Frosted Big Bite, Frosted Bite-Size, Frosted Little Bite
  • General Mills Cheerios Original
  • General Mills Kix Original
  • Post Shredded Wheat (all varieties)
  • Post Grape-Nuts Flakes
  • Quaker Oats Oatmeal Squares Cinnamon
  • Post Bran Flakes
  • Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Bunches

For the full report, tips for choosing healthier cereals, and healthy breakfast recipes, go to the Environmental Working Group studyonline.

© 2011 Shaw Media

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